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Several Republican senators say they will not attend the Republican National Convention to reappoint President Trump in Jacksonville, Florida in August.
So far, Sens. Chuck Grassley from Iowa, Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Susan Collins from Maine are expected to skip the August 24 meeting, and there could be more. Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who voted in favor of Trump’s removal during Trump’s impeachment process, will not be present, either, according to an aide.
86-year-old Grassley said Monday when calling local reporters that he would miss Congress because of pandemic fears. He also noted that it will be the first time in 40 years that he will no longer be present.
“I will not go. And I will not go because of the virus situation,” Grassley told the Des Moines Register and others.
This year’s Republican Congress has taken a turbulent path. It was originally planned for Charlotte, NC, but the bulk of it was moved to Jacksonville last month after Trump asked COVID-19 for less security. The official congress business will continue to be held in Charlotte.
Now that pandemics are on the rise in Florida and elsewhere, there are new ones Calls downsizing the Florida event.
A statement from Alexander’s office did not directly point to the corona virus as a problem, but said that its space should be used by someone else. Alexander is 80 and retires from the Senate.
“Senator Alexander is the honorary chairman of the Tennessee Trump campaign, but he will not attend the meeting because he believes delegate seats should be reserved for those who have not had the privilege they had before,” said the Explanation.
As for Collins, an adjutant said that as part of a longstanding tradition, she skipped not going during the years of re-election. Collins “never made plans to attend the conference because she never attended the national conference in years in which she is available for election,” said the adjutant. Collins attended the conference in 2016, although she said she would not support President Trump.
Helpers for Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska could not be reached immediately. Last month, she said she wasn’t sure if she could support Trump’s re-election.
Several other GOP offices contacted by NPR did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But adjutants said that at least two major Republicans, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are planning to be there.
“The Fiihrer has every intention of participating,” said a McConnell aide.